Talkin'. 'Bout. Don. Pedro. That place. From its humble roots as an Ecuadorian restaurant that hosted late-night shows in the back, Don Pedro has grown into Brooklyn's go-to garage rock venue. King Pizza Records founder Greg Hanson (Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson, SZ #20) is now the dive bar's primary booker, and his no-frills, no-fuss attitude has truly brought it as close to DIY as you can get in a bar setting. Brooklyn Burro is in the back, serving up tacos and burritos so you don't lose your head drinking. In writing this, I found this old review from New York Magazine that makes Pedro's look almost unfathomably polished — don't be fooled. You don't come to Pedro's to have a classy time; you come for the raucous music, cheap beers, and anything-goes attitude that puts Pedro's in a class of its own. Pedro's is where you go to give in to having a good time.
We wouldn't entrust the opening slot on our final night to anyone less than garage pop trio The Rizzos. If you told me they were born at Don Pedro, I wouldn't bat an eye. Their songs are quick and catchy, with an eye toward vintage 50s pop.
Maybe, if you're lucky, they'll ask you to dance. You won't need much convincing.
We wouldn't entrust the on-deck position on our final night to anyone less than O.G. Square Zeros guest #1(!) Stephen Selman (SZ #1) and his new project The Big Parade. I could trot out some comparisons — Elvis Costello comes to mind — but the truth is, no two of Stephen's releases sound the same, and the beauty of his songwriting is that it keeps you guessing. His latest record, which he's releasing on cassette the night of the show, has him skewing in the direction of surfy, wistful garage pop. Check out the single, "Time Out," here:
Chandeli'ers (Mario Viele, SZ #6) come next to crank that powerpop dial. Punky, spunky, sorta hunky. Songs thick with guitars, keyboards, and tight vocal harmonies will have you moving like its the 50s, or the 70s when a lot of that stuff came back, or the early 2000s, when a lot of that stuff came back again, or 2014, when you realized that some things never go out of style, and Chandeli'ers are your favorite band.
Listen below, then shake those hips over to Don Pedro.
We'll keep you up to those hips in jangling guitar with Ric-rockers Big Quiet (Marisa Cerio, SZ #12 and Stephen Perry, SZ #2). These three are architects of immaculate alt-pop songs: think R.E.M., Pylon, Miracle Legion, and you're on the right track.
Big Quiet is clever, and irreverent, and loads of fun, like the TV show that inspired their name (FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF, LOSER).
And why even pretend you're going to have a garage rock bill if you're not going to get The Neighbors to play? Fresh off the impeccably named "Married to the Hustle, My Side-Piece is the Game" Tour, Neighbors are the home team for any show that's expected to be even marginally fun.
They just released the ultimate Summer record in August. Feel free to put that thing on layaway until June if you want to have a really shitty Fall, Winter, and Spring. If you don't, break that thing open. Apply liberally.
Last up, we've got The Othermen to embody the truly unhinged energy with which one might best approach an event like ZeroFest. Frenetic and frantic, magnetic and manic: or, in their own words, "I'm Drunk," "Everybody Do a Dance," "Do the Max." "Beach Blanket Boner," "I Don't Know Why."
This is the part where you exhaust every last calorie of your remaining energy and collapse.
ZEROFEST, NIGHT FOUR! (FINAL NIGHT!)
Sunday, October 5th at Don Pedro, 90 Manhattan Avenue
The Rizzos — The Big Parade — Chandeli'ers – Big Quiet
The Neighbors — The Othermen
Early! 5—10pm, all-rages, all-urges, $5
Seriously — you're the best. Thanks for making our inaugural festival a blast.
— DJH + JM